What are the best museums in the Adirondacks?

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The next best thing to do in the Adirondacks — after being outside, of course — is to visit some of the area’s numerous heritage sites and museums.

Fort William Henry Museum is a 1755 fort rebuilt from original plans, and the complex includes dungeons, army barracks and an example of an Iroquois longhouse. The onsite museum hosts exhibits involving relics from the French and Indian War. Get a taste of battle in the 18th century as costumed guides provide demonstrations of typical military drills, musket firings, bullet molding and cannons.

To keep things just a bit active, don’t miss the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Built for the 1932 Winter Olympics and renovated for the 1980 Winter Games, it was made famous in the 1980 Olympics as the place where the U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets. The center hosts events year round and has a museum on site where you can see pieces of Olympic history.

The Adirondacks Museum provides a complete history of the area and the glorious mountains it’s named after. You can learn about everything from boating in the Adirondacks to log cabins built in the 1800s at permanent and special exhibits. Check out the replicated one-room schoolhouse or the full-size train car in the middle of the museum.

Housed in a former church, Bolton Historical Museum also explores the past of the Lake George region with a collection of ice boats, a Smith-Granger rowboat built around 1900, antique photographs of lakeside mansions and antique farming equipment.

Indoor and outdoor exhibits portray the life of Native Americans pre-ice boats at Six Nations Indians Museum. You’ll see a council ground and artifacts like birch bark canoes as well as listening to storytelling lectures.

Arguably one of the most visited sites in the Adirondacks is the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, which houses memorabilia from throughout the famous soprano’s career, including opera costumes and autographed photographs from her contemporaries, such as Brahms and Puccini. Be sure to explore the grounds, which boast views of Lake George.

Other museums include the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage, Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection and Kent-Delord House Museum. The first contains a collection of photographs, letters and memorabilia from Stevenson’s life. Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection has a collection of 17th-century household furnishings, and Kent-Delord House Museum served as British officers’ quarters during the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812.

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